How much West Bank land is Israel willing to relinquish to the Palestinians?

Each week brings with it different reports about what is and is not on the table.

February 7, 2014 02:49
2 minute read.
A view of the Jewish settlement of Maale Ephraim.

A view of the Jewish settlement of Maale Ephraim.. (photo credit: Reuters)

Israel’s “peace map” includes the retention of some 10 percent of the West Bank, Walla reported on Thursday, cutting by 3 percentage points the amount of land that an Army Radio report three weeks ago said Israel was determined to retain in any deal.

Each week brings with it different reports about what is and is not on the table, as little concrete information is available to the public about what is indeed being discussed.

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The Prime Minister’s Office, as is its custom, would not relate to either report.

According to the Walla report, Israel wants to annex as part of any final peace deal the following settlement blocs: Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev and Ariel, as well as the settlements of Kedumim, Karnei Shomron and Ma’aleh Shomron in northwestern Samaria.

According to the report, Israel and the Palestinians disagree over the definition of the settlement blocs. For instance, while there is reportedly agreement by the Palestinians to include Gush Etzion as one of the blocs, this is only with regard to the communities on the western side of Route 60, such as Neveh Daniel, and does not include Efrat and Kibbutz Migdal Oz to the east. Likewise, regarding the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc, according to the report, Israel wants to include the satellite settlements such as Kedar and Kfar Adumim, something the Palestinians oppose.

Some two weeks ago, Army Radio reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu discussed with US Secretary of State John Kerry the possibility of also annexing another bloc in Samaria comprised of Beit El, Ofra and Psagot. Netanyahu has reportedly raised the idea of leasing the land.

According to this report, if Israel annexed this bloc, as well as the others, it would incorporate some 13% of the West Bank. In return, according to the report, Netanyahu was proposing giving the Palestinians an area the equivalent in size to 3 to 4% of the West Bank within the pre-67 lines.

During the Camp David and later the Taba negotiations in 2000 and 2001, then-prime minister Ehud Barak discussed annexing 6 to 8% of Judea and Samaria, encompassing the vast majority of Jews living beyond the Green Line. And in the post-Annapolis negotiations in 2008, then-premier Ehud Olmert’s offer was reportedly for Israel to retain some 7% of the territory, with almost full land swaps to compensate the Palestinians.

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